tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS January 9, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
we want to live you with a look at this gorgeous sunset from treasure island. >> pelley: tonight, a two-hour apology. >> i am embarrassed and humiliated. >> pelley: new jersey's governor takes the heat and fires an aide as the feds investigate traffic jams created by his office for political revenge. elaine quijano and michelle miller are on the breaking story. john dickerson on the damage to a leading republican. >> i am a very sad person today. >> pelley: david martin has an early look at a pentagon investigation on sexual harassment. what's the problem at the military academies? dr. jon lapook reports on why big food companies have cut calories in packaged foods. and why is a predator of the arctic flying to florida and kansas? jim axelrod on a mystery migration.
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, this is our western edition. today the nation saw a side of republican chris christie we hadn't seen before. the usually brash, blunt, in your face governor of new jersey was humble and contrite as he tried to rescue his career and any presidential hopes from a scandal. he said he had nothing to do with the political dirty trick aimed at the democratic mayor of fort lee, new jersey, though he took responsibility for it and apologized. a top aide had engineered a massive traffic jam in fort lee as revenge against the mayor. today christie called that member of his inner circle "stupid and deceitful." he said she lied to him about it and he fired her today asked if the traffic jam ploy reflected his style as governor christie said "i am who i am. i am not a bully." elaine quijano begins our
coverage. >> i come out here today to apologize to the people of new jersey. i apologize to the people of fort lee and i apologize to the members of the state legislature i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. >> reporter: for nearly two hours, governor chris christie apologized, announcing he'd fired his deputy chief of staff, bridget anne kelly for lying about her role in lane closures that tripled traffic in fort lee new jersey, last fall. >> i am a very sad person today. that's the emotion i feel. a person close to me betrayed me. a person who i counted on and trusted for five years betrayed me. a person who i gave a high government office to betrayed me.
i probably will get angry at emergency vehicles responding to 911 calls. e-mails and text messages suggest it was political revenge against fort lee's democratic mayor mark sokolich for not endorsing governor christie's reelection bid. the month before the closures kelly wrote an e-mail saying: "time for some traffic problems in fort lee." "got it" replied christie ally david wildstein who had been with the agency that controls the george washington bridge. >> i was blindsided yesterday morning. i was done with my workout yesterday morning and got a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:55 informing me
of this story that had just broken. that was the first time i knew about this. it was the first time i'd seen any of the documents that were revealed yesterday. >> reporter: he repeatedly denied playing any part of the lane closures and said there was no reason for political payback against the fort lee mayor. >> mayor sokolich was never on my radar screen. he was never mentioned to me as somebody whose endorsement i was pursuing. i never saw this as political retribution because i didn't think he did anything to us. >> reporter: the governor also said she should ultimately shoulder the blame. >> i am responsible for what happens under my watch. the good and the bad. and when mistakes are made than i have to own up to them and take the action that i believe is necessary in order to remediate them. >> reporter: governor christie also said he asked a long-time
political ally not to pursue a job as head of the state republican party because of his involvement in the scandal. scott? >> pelley: elaine quijano on the approaches of the george washington bridge for us tonight. elaine, thank you. after apologizing to people on television, governor christie went to fort lee to apologize to the mayor in person. back in the state capital today, one of the key figures in the scandal, the former port authority official you saw in elaine's report, was in the hot seat at a legislative hearing. michelle miller has that part of the story. >> i do. >> thank you, you may be seated. >> reporter: new jersey legislators wanted to ask david wildstein why he allegedly executed the order to close the traffic lanes without any warning. >> on the advice of my council i respectfully assert my right to remain silent under the united states and new jersey constitutions. >> reporter: but the $140,000 a year political appointee refused to answer questions for more than an hour.
>> on the advice of counsel i assert my right to remain silent sir. >> reporter: among the mysteries is what's been redacted in pages of e-mails and text provided by wildstein's lawyer. he said he crossed out names and notes because they had nothing to do with the investigation. >> there was nothing improperly withheld. he cooperated. >> reporter: using government resources for political purposes can be a crime. we've learned a u.s. attorney is also looking into whether federa days ahead. elaine, thank you very much. the scandal had its roots in efforts by christie's reelection campaign last year to get democratic officials in new
jersey to endorse him in order to show that he had bipartisan support heading into a possible presidential run. john dickerson is our political director and, john, it was a remarkable scene today. did christie get himself out of this jam? >> no, but he may have taken the first steps. in talking to political strategist there is the view that the governor started repairing his political standing changing the story from the crisis to one about his crisis management response. but what worries those who want them to run for president is that governor christie made a lot of assurances in those two hours today. and the question is will the story hold up in the coming weeks as investigators proceed and the press digs. any evidence of connection to this episode would be fatal since governor christie has been adamant that the whole thing was a surprise to him. also, there's the question will there be any other instances of rogue activity by his top advisors? that would water down the governor's image as a hands-on manager or suggest that he encouraged the culture whether
where this kind of behavior was tolerated. there's the worry that this is a problem now also that could flair at any moment. the presidential campaign is a long way off, of course. that means plenty of time for the story to go away. but it also means plenty of time for christie's opponents to keep digging. >> pelley: john dickerson in our washington newsroom. john, thanks very much. well, today much of the country continued to pull out of the deep freeze, but it still was plenty cold in some places. the coast guard sent a specially outfitted tug boat to break up the ice on the connecticut river. and have a look at niagra falls. not much falling today with the niagra river largely frozen. the polar vortex is moving back north where it belongs so instead of single digits, today's highs in the 20s and 30s in the northern half of the country. by saturday it should be in the 40s and 50s. today david martin got an advanced look at a new pentagon investigation that says sexual
assault is a persistent problem at the service academies-- one of them in particular. david says this comes in spite of a major effort to stop the abuse. >> reporter: although the number of reported sexual assaults at the three service academies actually went down, the report said there is still a culture which tolerates and might even encourage offensive sexual behavior. with there were 70 reports of sexual assaults at the academies last year, down from 80 the previous year. but the authors of the report could not say whether that means there really were fewer sexual assaults or simply that victims were afraid to come forward. focus groups conducted for the report found crude and offensive language and sexist comments occur frequently and are an ingrained part of the experience at the academies and contribute to a disrespectful environment which might encourage worse behavior. cadets and mid-shipmen are reluctant to report sexual misconduct for fear of being ostracized by their classmates. some of the most blatant cases
involved male athletes. the west point rugby club was disbanded for trash talking e- mails derogatory to women. at the air force academy where two-thirds of the reported sexual assaults occurred, offensive powerpoint slides were circulated among members of two sports teams. and perhaps the most notorious case: two naval academy football players are facing court-martial on charges of sexually breaking news tonight. david, thank you. well, the u.s. military pulled out of iraq two years ago but the war there never really ended. today a suicide bomber attacked army recruits in baghdad. at least 21 iraqis were killed. iraq's military is also fighting al qaeda extremists in the city of fallujah.
today a human rights group accused those iraqi forces of firing mortars into civilian areas. elizabeth palmer is in baghdad tonight following all of this. liz? >> reporter: good evening. well, fallujah is sealed off but people can talk to us by telephone and they say things have been pretty calm today and the al qaeda-linked extremists have melted away either into the outskirts or maybe into the country side. anyway, say local people, the threat they posed was always very much exaggerated. al qaeda was an excuse, say the locals, for prime minister maliki's shi'a this controlled army to attack sunni tribes in anbar province. these the two main branches of islam in iraq and they're engaged in a major power struggle. sunni tribal leaders who say they're persecuted by the shi'a- led government are fighting back. take a look at these men, they may look like islamic extremist
but they're actually sunni tribesmen from anbar who have controlled this region for generations. and they've been attacking the iraqi army convoys this week to make it crystal clear the military should stay out of their towns or there will be war. this is the kind of violence that can easily spiral out of control. that's a concern to the united states which has contracted to sell arms to the iraqi government, including f-16 fighter aircraft and attack helicopters and there's no guarantee they wouldn't be used to inflame what is already a very volatile situation. >> pelley: liz palmer in baghdad for us. thank you, liz. today the coast guard called off the search for a missing crew member after a navy helicopter crashed yesterday off the virginia coast. there were four others on board, two of them were killed, two survived and are expected to recover fully. the sea dragon helicopter went down during a trai
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of what he calls promise zones, communities that will be given tax incentives and grants to fight poverty, create jobs and improve education. the president said the first five promise zones will be in los angeles, san antonio, the choctaw nation of oklahoma, southeastern kentucky and philadelphia. ben tracy went to the zone in l.a. >> reporter: just blocks from the gleaming towers of downtown los angeles is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. it's called pico-union. half the households here make less than $27,000. this is where 19-year-old willy manjarrez lives. how do you feel about where you live? >> i don't like it. i'd actually rather live somewhere else. that's why i want to school, finish high school, go to college and get out of the neighborhood. >> reporter: pico-union's designation as a promise zone gives him preference for federal aid already approved by congress.
los angeles could get a total of $500 million over ten years to build affordable housing and public transit and to boost education and job training programs in the zone. >> i think it gives neighborhoods like this a real shot for young people to have a pathway out of poverty. >> reporter: los angeles mayor eric garcetti says the promise >> reporter: los angeles mayor eric garcetti says the promise zone concept focuses several anti-poverty efforts on one area at the same time. some republicans favor giving block grants to states instead of using federal programs. how do you keep this from becoming another program that money is just thrown down a hole. >> well, the nice thing is these other programs have a lot of conditions attached, a lot of oversight so these programs by themselves aren't new, it's the combining of them that is brand new. >> reporter: administrators running willy manjarrez's school plan to use promise funds to expand their education and job training programs from nine schools to 45 by 2019. manjarrez wants to be a doctor. >> be somebody that nobody expected me to be, someone successful, you know? someone with a nice life, nice house, nice car, nice family.
>> reporter: now, president obama says that he wants these promise zones held accountable so each zone will have its own director and its own board and, scott, they are required to track and evaluate their results. >> pelley: ben tracy in our los angeles newsroom. ben, thanks very much. today fidel castro made a surprise appearance in public, his first in nine months. cuba's former dictator attended the opening of a havana cultural center that was sponsored by a favorite artist. castro is 87. he ruled cuba 49 years but when he fell ill he was replaced by his younger brother raul. we'll be right back. we'll be right back.
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initiative. last year we spoke her about the role of the private sector in the obesity epidemic. >> we need to keep pushing every step of the way. >> reporter: you've done that pushing but there's been a lot of pushback from industry. >> one of the things we have to remind parents is that we're the ones that set the demand so if we're asking our food producers and our restaurant chains and the companies that sell us food and market to us if we're changing that demand curve they're going to follow us. >> reporter: the study said nothing about the nutritional content of the food but a doctor at the robert wood johnson foundation which funded the study told us if americans are starting to have an appetite for lower calorie choices other companies may follow suit and this would be a positive step. >> jon, thanks very much. in colorado tonight there is a shortage of legal marijuana. 8 days ago that state became the first to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. well, since then customers have been lining up in
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employees. next at six. weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> pelley: we end tonight with a mystery of nature. majestic birds usually found this time of year near the top of the world are flocking south to parts of the united states. jim axelrod, now, on this winter wonder. >> right now we're just trying to get a look at this snowy owl. >> reporter: it's just about the best winter ever for bird- watchers in the northeast. at least for those interested in the snowy owl. >> we don't want to spook it but we want to get a decent look at it, too. >> reporter: but the trip they've been making 3,000 miles from their usual habitat in the arctic circle has put these magnificent creatures in danger. norman smith is a director of the state audubon society. >> we removed 53 from logan airport. >> reporter: and in a normal winter how many might you see? >> six.
we're not even a month into winter yet. so this will be the biggest year for snowy owls that i've ever seen. >> which means if you live on the east coast you no longer longer have to rent a movie to see the owl harry potter made famous. they've been spotted as far south as florida. >> it's like a built in gyroscope. >> reporter: smith knows as much as anyone about the snowy owl. at five pounds with a five-foot wingspan, the largest owl in north america. even he's stumped. you've studied snowy owls for more than 30 years, but even you can't explain to me why this is happening. >> you're right. so it's a mystery. >> reporter: he can explain large numbers found at logan and other airports where they pose great danger to planes landing and taking off. >> if you took away the terminals, the planes, the runways at logan, there's 1,800 acres of wide-open habitat which looks very much like the arctic tundra. >> reporter: but as for why they're so far from home, the
most popular theory is a spike in their population last season that outpaced their food supplies in the arctic. but he weighs and measures each one he catches and they're not malnourished. the mystery thickens. once tagged, smith releases each owl he catches on the coast south of boston. >> it's an amazing creature. just look at that face and lemon-colored eyes and think whereof this bird came from. some place in the arctic. >> reporter: he loves watching them take flight with such majesty and grace-- even if they're headed the opposite direction, he wonder once thought they've done. jim axelrod, cbs news, duxbury, massachusetts. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news and cess group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
your realtime captioner is mrs. linda m. macdonald i'm ken bastida. tonight fatal flu cases on the rise across the bay area. good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm ken bastida. tonight the flu virus is thriving here in the bay area sickening and killing people along the way. 11 deaths have now been blamed on the flu, and that number is expected to rise. just today, sonoma, alameda, san mateo and santa cruz counties all reporting their first flu-related deaths this season. linda yee has more on a deadly case in canada that is also getting a lot of attention. linda? >> reporter: well, ken, that is the avian flu case in canada and it is the first time that deadly virus has hit north america. that should give health officers here in the bay area pause. but right now, they are more concerned with the deadly h1n1
swine flu virus we have seen in 2009 and it never went away. now it is hitting hard, especially at those people at the age between young adults through middle-aged. this year' vaccine did not include the new avian strain that killed a canadian. health officials there say the alberta resident started feeling symptoms on his plane ride back from beijing and stress it was an isolated case. >> the symptoms worsened and the individual is hospitalized and died january 3. >> reporter: the cdc believes avian flu risk to americans is low. that virus is primarily found in poultry in parts of asiana and africa. san francisco's asian population go back and forth to china. but health officials are now more concerned about the h1n1 swine flu sweeping through the bay area and most at risk are those